Consistent efforts of some 590 Chinese and French geologists over the past 20 years have uncovered the mystery of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
"The cooperation between China and France in the field have been successful and fruitful," Shou Jiahua, vice-minister of Land and Resources, said Friday at a seminar commemorating the 20th anniversary of China's largest international cooperation in geological studies.
The scientists' research has contributed to an all but complete picture of the region, exploring its geologic make-up, the earthquake belt that runs through it, and its geothermal resources and karst distribution patterns.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is situated on the border where the India-Australia and European-Asia stectonic plates meet and has long been regarded as being unsuitable for geological research.
The Sino-French research team has expanded its efforts to vast sections of western and southern China as well as some regions in the country's eastern part.
It is believed the data the team has collected over the past two decades will greatly facilitate China's development of its western region, Shou said.